I'm a new manager who inherited a team of 10. From what I gather there has been a large turnover. There are 3 directs which have serious attendance issues. There is one other direct I have to keep until July and then I can let them go.

The directs with the attendance problems don't have any medical issues. I really would like to fire them but here inAustralia it is hard to fire people.

What can I do to address their attendance problems?

The other temp worker just refuses to do any work. I give her a task and she spends 10 minutes on itand the rest of the day playing on her phone. There isn't any policy for net or phone use and I don't want to punish the ones who use it properl

What can I do about these problem people?

asteriskrntt1's picture

Tribble, if you are now a manager, you get to make manager choices.  If phone and net usage are interfering with people doing work, you can institute your own policy.  If your use of your phone or net means you don't get your work done, you are not allowed to use the phone or net during work hours.  Quite simply, that is what manager's do.

If the person is a temp, swap her out for another temp.

As for the attendance issues, start documenting them every day.  Tell HR you are doing this.  Put them on notice.  Fire that shot across the bow (see the podcast) and start managing.



Tribble's picture

 Thanks for the tips. I listened to the 2 input podcast and they did talk about SATB but what is the main podcast called that talks about SATB?


I'm having a team meeting this week and I will role out my expectations of the directs including the internet policy.

asteriskrntt1's picture

Oct 8, 2007

Tribble's picture

 Thanks. I am going to sort these things out.

Tribble's picture

It turns out this problem employee has been with the company for 20 years and has accumulated 26 weeks in leave! There doesn't seem to be much I can do about the attendance. I can be accused of bullying if I say anything or held liable if I say something and they go off themselves. Sheesh. How did things get to this? I have a meeting with HR tomorrow about it.

asteriskrntt1's picture

Just because someone has accumulated leave time doesn't mean they get to use it at their discretion and without telling the boss (ie, YOU).  They need to apply and get permission for time off.  Without this permission, they are AWOL.

Tribble's picture

 I wish it was that simple. If I was in the US this would be a lot easier to handle but the culture is different here in Oz. I'll see what HR has to say about it today.

kingdave's picture

Have you listened to the feedback model casts? I'd practically pretend like this is the first time it's ever happened, just say "Hey, can I give you some feedback? When you are using your phone or the net for personal matters when you're supposed to be working, it delays these processes/projects and it appears unprofessional. How can you manage your time differently? or What could you do differently?"

Same thing for the AWOL employee: "Can I give you some feedback? When you're not at work without arranging beforehand, it makes it difficult for the team to get our work done. I'm all about you using your well-earned time off, but how do you think you could do it differently?"


And I'm just curious, what is the law in Australia preventing you from firing someone? What does someone need to do to get fired? Is there a process for terminating someone? Some documented behavior that's required?

tomjedrz's picture
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You need to review the Manager Tools Basics podcast series and implement the Management Trinity. 

Weekly One-on-One Meetings.  O3s are about relationships, and you need to improve your relationships.  These employees are far less likely to abuse you if they like you and have a positive relationship with you.

Feedback.  You need to be able to tell them, in a clear, non-confrontational, non-emotional manner, when their behavior is not appropriate or not effective.

Coaching.  Working with the direct to fix problem behaviors, performance issues, or bad habits. 

timrutter's picture

Tribble, it can and is that simple, even here in Australia. Like most things, the groundwork is the key factor, after that, everything looks after itself. asteriskrntt1 is completely right, without permission, they are an unauthorised absent, whether they have holiday owing or not.


Kingdave, the issue in Australia is more cultural than legal. The employment laws are more stringent, but are based on the UK laws that were their parentage (I'm and Englisman working in Australia for an American Corporation). Sacking is not impossible, it's just not the done thing socially